5 free HR classes online and skills to help your career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Careers in human resources involve a variety of skills, including employee relations, performance management and implementing the latest HR policies. HR professionals can benefit from continuous education to ensure they keep abreast of the latest developments and needs of the staff they oversee. Online courses in specialised areas such as workplace health and safety, HR management and HR information software can be beneficial in developing your career. In this article, we present five free HR classes online, including how they can be beneficial to your career, along with desirable HR skills for early career professionals.

What are free HR classes online?

Free online HR classes offer virtual training and tools to help you gain a deeper understanding of the ever-changing policies and topics used throughout the HR industry. HR professionals are an important part of organisations, as they provide a range of resources, services and support to employees who make up the workforce. An HR professional's responsibilities can vary depending on the organisation for which they work and their exact speciality, so online classes can help professionals learn about common areas of expertise across different divisions within the HR field.

Why choose free online courses?

The convenience of online courses means that professionals can complete the training in their own time and at their own pace, depending on the course structure. You can also choose the type of course that addresses the topics you want to study. For early stage professionals with no prior experience, a free course can enable you to see whether this is the right career choice for you. For an advanced professional, a free course may be a good way to supplement your existing knowledge and learn about new trends in the field.

Free courses online can also be more cost-effective than in-person training, as you can avoid the cost of commuting to a site. It can also mean that you save time and have constant access to peers and resources online whenever you need them. Additionally, the teaching style and tools used can make the course feel interactive, which may help you better retain the information. You may also begin your studies with free online courses as a trial, then invest or commit to specialised paid courses for a more in-depth study if you enjoy the experience.

Related: 10 key HR policies and procedures including examples

Benefits of free online HR classes

Duties held by HR professionals can include employee interviewing and selection, onboarding, disciplinary actions, compensation and benefits, learning and development opportunities, workplace health and staff safety training. HR professionals help boost morale by curating a healthy workplace culture. Since human resources cover an array of responsibilities, free online courses can help you develop in these many professional areas.

The learning tools you use in an online course may also inspire you with effective ways to implement staff training sessions in the future. Some tools that are common to online courses include videos, real-life case studies, interactive quizzes and games. For many learners, these methods are more interesting than traditional lectures. HR professionals may choose to implement some of these teaching techniques into their respective organisations.

Related: Core HR functions and different human resource specialities

5 free HR classes online to consider

When choosing a course, it is helpful to decide what you want to learn, the time you need to complete it, how many hours per week you may need to set aside to study and the course prerequisites. Below are five different online HR courses that offer learning and development opportunities in different specialisations:

1. Human Resource Management

This is entry-level free learning course from Brentwood Open Learning is centred around introductions to HR practices, or you can study HR management if you are a candidate with some prior human resource knowledge and experience. It covers content like candidate selection, recruitment, ongoing staff development and training. You can also gain a letter of completion after finishing the course.

The course content is divided into three major sections: introduction to HR management, recruitment and selection and staff training and development. The course duration is approximately 20 hours and has no specific prerequisites.

2. Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety

This workplace health and safety diploma from the company Alison is a free online course for HR professionals, supervisors and managers. You can expect to learn how to develop a culture of safety among employees to enable greater satisfaction and productivity. This course also emphasises the need for implementing and enacting workplace safety and health policies aligned with current legislation and compliance.

Some modules included are the basics of behaviour-based safety, introduction to workstation ergonomics, promoting a drug-free workplace, risk assessments, emergency planning and accident reporting, safety and health management systems and introduction to safety and health legislation. This is a CPD accredited course that takes 6-10 hours to complete. At each assessment stage, you'll need a score of 80% or higher to pass the course.

3. People Management

This free course from Open Learn gives you an insight into the world of management and the associated skills. Since HR professionals often manage relationships with multiple staff members at different levels, this could be a useful free learning resource for HR professionals who oversee teams and work with executives. Some areas you can expect to address while studying are managerial effectiveness and how it works in practice. This may include identifying which activities contribute to being a successful manager and how to overcome stress and other leadership challenges. It also addresses time management techniques.

This advanced level 3 course requires you to have prior management experience. It will require you to complete roughly eight hours of study to earn a statement of completion. This course is beneficial for active learners who enjoy quizzes and other high-engagement methods of virtual learning.

4. Equality & Diversity Level 2 Certificate

Diversity and inclusion play a part in creating a healthy organisation that supports all of its employees equally. Equal opportunity and representation also contribute to team and organisation morale, along with equal access to opportunities, promotions and personal and career development. HR professionals today can prepare and equip themselves with the skills to create an inclusive and diverse environment. This course from vision2learn can help HR professionals understand the basics of how to build and lead diverse and inclusive teams. It can also equip you with the tools to create an enabling and inclusive environment through adequate staff training and access to resources.

This online course takes roughly nine weeks to complete. To gain this accredited level 2 certificate, you explore a range of different content and topics, such as equality and diversity in the workplace, society and community. This course also includes access to a tutor who can support you throughout your study.

Related: Learning about diversity and inclusion: 10 free virtual courses

5. Recruitment & Selection Training

Recruitment and selection is a vital component of human resources duties. While some organisations have management involved in making recruitment decisions, HR professionals often start and complete the process. Because of this, it is important for HR to keep up to date with the latest discrimination and equal opportunity legislation to ensure their organisation is compliant when hiring. This online course from Open Learn on recruitment and selection gives you guidance on writing job descriptions and assessing who to interview and hire.

After this course, you will have the skills to list the requirements of a full and fair recruitment and selection process and conduct this process successfully yourself. This course requires roughly 12 hours of online study and is a level 2 intermediate qualification. You can expect to receive a statement of completion at the end.

Related: Essential HR skills

Human resource skills

HR skills are the qualities and expertise that human resource staff have to fulfil their role. Some skills are not limited to HR specifically, but they can be useful in ensuring staff benefit from robust policies, processes and training and development opportunities. Having key HR skills can help you effectively manage a team and contribute to an inclusive and high-performing organisation. Some key skills that human resource professionals have are:

  • leadership

  • problem-solving

  • teamwork and collaboration

  • internal communication

  • time management

  • organisation

  • employee relations expertise

  • knowledge of relevant technology

  • payroll reporting and analysis training

  • performance management training

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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